Tuesday, December 12, 2006

You were wondering ...What is the difference between a D.O. and an M.D.?

You were wondering ...

What is the difference between a D.O. and an M.D.?

It's more than just a bunch of letters. Doctors of osteopathy, better known as D.O.s, are licensed physicians just like their M.D. -- medical doctor or allopathic -- colleagues. The difference lies in their approach. Osteopathic medicine focuses on treating the patient as a whole, rather than focusing on just one part of the body.

Like an M.D., an osteopathic doctor attends four years of medical school and can practice in any specialty. But an osteopath also spends an additional 300 to 500 hours in the study of the body's musculoskeletal system and hands-on manipulative medicine.

Manipulation is a hands-on treatment that is done to make sure the body is moving freely. The motion is done to ensure the body's healing systems aren't being hindered in any way. It's based on the theory that the body's systems are interconnected.

Osteopathy dates back to 1874, when Dr. Andrew Taylor Still, an M.D., became frustrated with the medical practice. He believed the human body possessed the ability to heal itself. So he developed the manipulative techniques.


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